Fish Sniffer Digital Edition Issue 3622 Oct. 13-27, 2017 - Page 25

VOL.36 • ISS. 22 FRESHWATER Oct. 13 - 27, 2017 23 WHAT’S HOT By Cal Kellogg continued from page 1 marquee salmon rivers, the Sacramento, Rogue, Kenai and Columbia. Living in California I’ve obviously caught my share of Sac River kings. A trip a few years back allowed me to notch a Rogue River king on my fishing resume. And I’ve landed several huge kings on Alaska’s Kenai, including catching and releasing back to back 40 plus pounders while tossing big Rooster Tail spinners for silvers. I had to release both of those incredible kings, but I’ll never forget the excitement of wearing them down on fairly light spinning gear. Two years ago, I’d had a memorable fishing trip on the Columbia and Willa- mette with pro guide Dan Ponaciano, but our target wasn’t salmon, it was white sturgeon. We caught dozens of them up to about 5 feet long. That trip only made me more curious about the Columbia and more determined than ever to pull a king out of its waters. Last winter I decided it was time to hunt that salmon down so I reached out to Buzz. “Please, please, please Mr. Ramsey take me salmon fishing…,” I said, or something along those lines. Buzz must like tangled lines, back- lashed reels and snack related crumbs on the floor of his boat, because he agreed to take both Paul and I fishing. I was delight- ed. We settled on a couple days at the end of August for our trip. “You can never tell when the run is going to peak in the lower Columbia, but you can pretty much bet on hooking multiple fish there during the last week of August,” Buzz related. Our itinerary looked like this… Paul and I flew into Portland, Oregon on the evening of August 27, jumped into a rental car and drove about two hours to reach Astoria. As luck would have it, one of Paul’s grade school buddies, Joe Novelli has a vacation home in Astoria and he planned on being there to do a little salmon fishing himself along with Dave Barsi who was driving in from Redding, Ca. Joe offered up his beautiful home to serve as our base camp during the trip. With non-resident fishing licenses in our hands and packs full of cameras and other gear, we met Buzz, Rob Phil- lips of Yakima Bait and Justin Wolff of Angler West Television at a launch ramp just upriver of the Astoria Bridge in the predawn darkness of August 28. Justin would be filming the trip for an episode of Angler West. It was just getting Here Justin Wolff of Angler West Television leans in close to capture footage of a hard fighting Columbia light as Buzz motored us out of the harbor into River king moments after it hit the net. Photo by CAL KELLOGG, Fish Sniffer Staff. the Columbia where we joined dozens of other boats filled with excited salmon anglers. shoals where you can beach your boat if hot herring bite based on how quickly I There were some huge ships anchored you’re not careful. In the midst of all these hooked up, but we trolled for another hour here and there as well. Not only is the features, the salmon have several pre- with zero action on herring or spinners Columbia one of the world’s premier ferred travel corridors and with decades and decided to head in to fillet our fish. salmon rivers, it’s also an important artery of experience Buzz knows these corridors The next day, Paul and I had a late for commerce. like the back of his hand. afternoon flight out of Portland, so we’d “The tide is pushing in and the salmon The first rod to go off was Paul’s and only be able to fish until about noon. Day flow on up river with the current,” Buzz he landed and released a jack chinook on a two was a repeat of day one. Buzz led off related as he lined up his big aluminum spinner. Rob’s spinner got whacked next. with a 20 pounder on a spinner and Paul sled for our first trolling pass. “The His fish was a wild Coho, so it went back followed up with a 20 pound class fish of salmon will all be facing downstream into the river unharmed. his own. right now, allowing the tide to push them Time passed and then it was Paul that I got one huge pull down on my rod, up the system. The water isn’t deep out got hit again and this time it was a big but the fish didn’t stick, but that was fine here with most areas running about 25 fish. It put up a terrific fight and Paul with me. I had my Columbia River king feet or so. The bottom is sandy in most countered the kings every move perfectly and some great meals to look forward to. areas. We hook a lot of salmon right along and soon had the 20 pounder in the net. 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